Friday, August 6, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 22 -- Road Racing at Watkins Glen

For those who make fun of gear heads for spending their Sunday afternoons watching a sport where the competitors simply drive fast and turn left, Watkins Glen is one of two races guaranteed to cause a little confusion. The 90 lap, 220.5 mile event features lots of curvy action and, yes, right turns.

Tony Stewart has dominated the track in recent years winning five races including last year's competition since 2002. Jeff Gordon has four wins at the track but none since 2001. A trip to victory lane would sure benefit Mark Martin attempting to secure a berth in the top 12. Martin has three consecutive victories at Watkins Glen from 1993 to 1995.

46 cars are entered to secure 43 starting positions including a number of "road racing specialists" in the cockpit for Sunday's unique style of racing. They include:

07 -- P.J. Jones, a second entry for Robby Gordon
26 -- Patrick Carpentier
35 -- Tony Ave
36 -- Ron Fellows
71 -- Andy Lally*
83 -- Boris Said*

*assured starting position based on Owner's points.

Eyes will focus on Australian driver, Marcus Ambrose, who has proven most effective at road courses all but having the June race at Infineon locked up were it not for a dreadful yellow flag blunder late in the race. Juan Pablo Montoya, a savvy road course driver, will surly look for a good finish or victory after recent bouts of embarrassing bad luck.

Weather should be agreeable with afternoon highs around 86 degrees under partly cloudy skies with little chance for rain.

Rest assured, drivers seeking to make "The Chase" are on notice, Watkins Glen is one of those blender races that can certainly mix up the standings dramatically with Bristol coming up in two weeks. While Watkins Glen has both left and right turns, for many teams, their efforts for 2010 have arrived at a fork in the road. Another trip in the wrong direction could finish any realistic hope for the Chase for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray. A bad finish or failure to gain a substantial points advantage could put an end to hopes for being in the field of honor after Richmond.

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